There is a very good reason why the Unicycle never made it big. The Unicycle demands too much of dexterity and concentration, and not every person is gifted with the kind of body balance to be able to ride one without losing a few teeth to pavements. But designers André Oliveira and Vasco Oliveira have a whole new take on the single-wheel transportation system and they’ve gone and added an electric motor (gulp!) to it to make the concept more appealing.
The duo from Instituto Superior Técnico in Portugal, believe that the unicycle fits perfectly into the 21th century’s need for a versatile, eco-friendly and secure (?) mode of transport especially in an urban environment. With an electric engine cutting down on emissions as well as gas bills, the concept, according to the designers, could in theory be the perfect mobility solution for city dwellers of the future.
Since the addition of a motor will add to the curb weight of the vehicle, a balance system has been developed for the unicycle. Based on a couple of tilt sensors connected to a hydraulic cylinder, this special system ensures that the user doesn’t fall off the seat on route to work.
Interestingly, the design features a steering mechanism that is generally missing in traditional unicycles. This system employs a gyroscopic technology that mimics the rider’s body movement to move the vehicle accordingly. The electric engine tops out at 80km/h while disc and parking brakes provide optimum comfort to the rider.
The unicycle was fashioned for the urban youth who wouldn’t want to compromise in the looks department and to ensure that the unicycle doesn’t look too unicycley, the designers have created it in the style of the Piaggio Vespa, only with a futuristic interpretation of it.
The vehicle itself is composed by three different parts: the frontal body, the middle and the seat, with the front housing the chassis, the middle comprising of the bulk of the vehicle and the seat being done in the style of a regular bike seat.
The developers see the Unicycle being an enormous success in the 16-30 age groups and thus want to keep the unibike well within the price range of the urban youth.